The need for a robust theory of innovation has been recognized by STS scholars for more than twenty-five years. The scholarly consensus is that an effective
theory of innovation must understand technology as a socially embedded representation of knowledge. The work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and subsequent scholars suggests that a model of technology as practice can provide an epistemological basis for developing a socio-cognitive theory of innovation. Acceptance of the hypotheses that technology is a form of knowledge and that knowledge is expressed in behavior provides the foundation for a model of innovation that links the creation of new knowledge with social and economic impacts. The model of technology as practice (TAP model) presented here is a
representation of technological knowledge as behavior. It is an empirically-based model that has been employed in a number of studies to characterize technologies, to identify critical variables for successful innovation, and to evaluate design alternatives. The TAP model has several advantages as an analytic tool: It can account for innovation outcomes
that economic models cannot easily address. It can be used to address the impacts of technological change on both adopters and on the broader society. It can provide the unit of analysis for a broader, knowledge-based theory of innovation that will be developed and reported in subsequent papers.
|Keywords:||Technology, Practice, Model, Epistemology, Innovation|
Research Professor, Science, Technology and Policy, Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, USA
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